Men’s Health- Chronic condition Diabetes and Hypertension

So what about your health men?

October 6th-12th has been designated  for the launching of Men’s Health in the Federation.  The Theme “One Life –  Take Care of Yourself

Similar to other Caribbean islands, the major health problems of concern to many men in St Kitts/Nevis are strokes, hypertension, diabetes and sexual problems with problems of the prostate and testes.

What prize are you willing to pay for your health?

Many of these diseases which affect men could be prevented altogether or controlled  not only by changing your lifestyle, but also knowing the signs and symptoms of these conditions and visiting your doctor or health centre early.

The difference between an casual weekend athlete and the one who takes sports seriously is that the serious athletes knows more about how his body works, stays in shape, eats  right and generally takes care of himself.  The more serious you are about your health the more serious you‘ll become in taking care of yourself.

Chronic condition such as diabetes and high blood pressure are affecting a growing number of people in the Caribbean, especially middle aged and the elderly, resulting in less enjoyment of later years, as they become more inactive.  These chronic conditions are referred to as lifestyle diseases because they can be prevented or controlled by daily practices.

Let’s take a look at Diabetes

“I have sugar” is a common saying in the Caribbean Having sugar simply means there is much more sugar in the blood than is normal.  This happens because the body is not able to use the sugar, which is the major source of energy. Diabetes is very common in the Caribben and it is estimated that one out 10 persons over the age of 40 in the Caribbean is diabetic, and 1 in 8 deaths in some of our countries is due to this disease.

Having Diabetes can have harmful effects on the body and the failure to control the blood sugar could result in complications such as kidney failure, amputation, impotence, damage to the nerve endings, loss of bladder control and blindness.

Apart from gestational diabetes which occurs in pregnancy, there are two main types of diabetes.  Type I diabetes is a disease in which the pancreas produces too little insulin to meet the body’s needs. Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate the level of glucose in the blood. A person with type 1 diabetes does not have enough insulin to move glucose into the cells. The amount of glucose in the blood then becomes abnormally high. This condition called hyperglycemia.   This type is called Insulin dependent Diabetes Mellitus and the only way to help these people is to provide insulin.  1in 10 cases are of this type ans symptoms show up early in life mostly in young adults.

The other type of diabetes is called Type 2 or Non Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus. In this condition the body does not allow the insulin to take sugar into the cells to produce energy. 8 out of 10 cases are of this type and the symptoms of this type appears later in life, therefore it is called adult onset diabetes.

Risk factors include hereditary, bad dietary habits, overweight, and lack of exercise.  Obesity is the only diet related factor which has a strong link to diabetes.

Many men may be walking around with diabetes and not know it. The signs and symptoms include frequent passing of urine, excessive hunger, excessive thirst, weight loss in spite of increase appetite,and sores that won’t heal.

The best way to prevent type 2 diabetes is to maintain a healthy body weight, eat an appropriate diet for diabetes, and exercise regularly. If these methods are not entirely successful, oral medicines or insulin injections may added to the treatment plan. Special attention should also be made to foot care

What about High Blood Pressure

Like diabetes high blood pressure or simply pressure is also known to affect person over the age of 40.  This is a disease which disables and kills thousands of people, and often times referred to as the silent killer because you are not aware that you have it until it reaches a life threatening stage..

Every one has a blood pressure, which is simply the pressure of the blood against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood through the body. Optimal blood pressure in an adult is about120/80. High blood pressure then is defined as blood pressure grater than or equal to 140/90. High blood pressure makes your heart works harder than it should to pump the blood through narrowed arteries caused by high pressure. Constant high blood pressure over many years may lead to serious damage including stroke, enlarged heart, heart failure, kidney disease and diseases of the nerves of the eyes.

Risk factors age, male sex, heredity, obesity, inactivity called sedentary lifestyle, high salt intake, and heavy alcohol  consumption.

Diagnosing high blood pressure is done by measuring the blood pressure using a special instrument.

There is no cure for high blood pressure.  However it can be prevented or well controlled with proper treatment therapy with a combination of lifestyle changes and medication. Reduce salt intake, lose weight, stay away from fatty foods, choose healtier ways to prepare foods, exercise regularly, stop smoking and manage stress drink plenty water and foods rich in potassium.

Diabetea and high blood pressure can be controlled by what you do to stay healthy. The key to avoiding serious complications in these diseases is to detect and treat these condition before damage occur.  Visit your doctor or health centre

You have one life to live look after yourself.

Keeping with the subject of Men’s health I’d like to share a poem done by your truly entitled:

Men Please Take a Break

Take a break from your busy schedule

To see about your health

Take a break from your macho image

Don’t forget your ego as well

Don’t wait until you feel sick

To visit the doctor for help

You have only one life to live

Take care of yourself

Eat right, less alcohol,

Remember the exercise too

Control your weight, your salt in take

Enough rest is good for you

The testes and the prostate

May trouble you as you age

Impotence, a common complaint

Protect yourself against HIV/AIDS

Why worry or suffer in silence

And you know what you’ve got to do

So don’t hesitate or procrastinate

Go see your doctor for goodness sake

and remember as always take care of yourself !


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